february’s artist: georges braque

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Georges Braque was born on May 13, 1882 in a suburb of Paris, France. He grew up working with his father and grandfather, who were decorative house painters. He also attended art school at night. Initially, he was a member of the impressionist movement, but soon joined the Fauves. (The “Beasts” like Henri Mattise. They used bright colors to convey emotion.) Braque was fascinated with the effects of light and perspective and began experimenting with flattening images or showing multiple perspectives at once. He was good friends with Pablo Picasso and the two artists began experimenting with breaking their paintings down into the geometric shapes and combing more than one view point. The two artists often painted side by side, creating pieces that looked almost identical. The term Cubist wasn’t initially adopted by Braque and Picasso, but came from a critic, who wrote that Braque’s work was a canvas “full of little cubes” (Another example of someone criticizing an artists work, but the artist refusing to let it be a negative thing!) Within a few years, the movement was known as cubism and its popularity was spreading quickly. Cubist paintings are much easier to understand if you keep in mind the exaggeration of the shapes in a figure (for older students, mention that figures, landscapes and still life subjects were abstracted into their base shapes), along with the display of multiple perspectives at once. Braque mentioned “shattering an object into fragments” to better understand the form of the object. In 1912, the pair began to experiment with collage, creating what they termed “Papier Colle`” They pasted newspaper clippings, ads, and other papers into their work. This created a new texture and could add a different narrative to the piece.

Braque joined the French Army at the beginning of WWI and suffered a severe head injury, leaving him temporarily blind. After his recuperation, he returned to painting alone. Picasso moved onto other experiments, but Braque remained devoted to the Cubist method until his death at age 81.

Today we will paint our own canvas boards using the techniques that George Braque pioneered.

Set out the still life display on the cart. Put it somewhere centrally located if possible. Tell the students that they will not be able to touch the display, but they will be able to quietly move to a different spot in the room. Tell them that this will give them the chance to look at things from more than one angle; like Georges Braque did. Encourage them to mix the views together and focus more on the shapes of the objects than the objects themselves to create a cubist painting. If they are nervous about going right to the canvas, there is paper on the cart to do some preliminary sketches.

Tell the students to start by looking at the display and very lightly sketching it in on their canvas. Then they can quietly move to a different seat. Now look at the display again. How has it changed? Lightly add in elements from this new direction. (Remind the students that it is hard to get the graphite from their pencils off of the canvas, so make sure you draw super lightly!) Once they have created a composition they are happy with, they can paint the piece.

Don’t forget the general rules for painting:
1. Wet your brush
2. Only dip the tip into the paint (and only give them a small amount of paint to start-they canalways have more!)
3. Work from the background to the foreground. End with the small details!

Now, they can add in some of the paper. Cut or tear it into shapes that fit into their scene. Tell the students to use as much or little as they’d would like to create their artwork. They can stick it right down on top of the paint and it will stick to the canvas.

january’s artist: louise nevelson

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Louise Berliawsky Nevelson was born on September 23, 1899 in what is now Ukraine. Her family immigrated to the United States, settling in Maine when she was six. Her father was a woodcutter and owned a lumberyard. This influence is definitely seen her heavy use of wood in her sculptures. Though her family flourished and was financially successful within a decade, there was a strong prejudice against Jewish immigrants in the community and life wasn’t perfect. Her Mother struggled with severe depression. Perhaps as a cure or compensation, her Mother would dress herself and her daughters in ornate costume like dresses and heavy makeup that belonged in an old world palace more than everyday Maine. Again, this influence would show up in her life.

At age nine, she saw a plaster cast of Joan of Arc in the public library and “was entranced by it.” Soon after, she decided to study art. In high school, she painted and drew. Soon after high school she married Charles Nevelson, a wealthy ship-owner. He was supportive of her artistic pursuits, but only to a limit. She felt stifled in the conservative upper class society and ultimately left Charles to study art in Germany.

Louise was strongly influenced by the cubists, especially Picasso; as well as Native American and Mayan art. She called herself “the original recycler.” She often combed the streets of New York for debris; such as a broken chair leg, pieces of wood or railings and tin cans, which were arranged into “Assemblage boxes” (Assemblage means that you create or assemble the art from objects found in everyday life.) She then spray painted them a single color so that the item’s identity was lost and only the form was visible. Pieces of wood and random garbage became sunflowers and dancing girls.

Nevelson felt that color was a vital aspect of art. She had three phases of color for her sculpture. The first and biggest was black, which she described as the “total color” that “it contains all color. It wasn’t a negation of color. It was an acceptance. Because black encompasses all colors; black is the most aristocratic color of all.” In the 1960s she began incorporating white and gold into her works. Nevelson said that white was the color that “summoned the early morning and emotional promise.” She described her gold phase as the “baroque phase”, inspired by the idea being told as a child that America’s streets would be “paved with gold” Her installations were created with highly detailed boxes that could be assembled then taken apart to create a new piece of art.

Her works often explored her difficult past and the tumultuous times of the 1960s and 70s. As well feminism. The bride is a frequent symbol in her work, which she said represented her escape from the expectation to marry and have children. She also cultivated a distinct and eccentric public persona with flamboyant outfits. Although she was a key figure in the feminist movement, she said “I’m not a feminist. I’m an artist who happens to be a woman.” Nevelson died of natural causes at age 87 on April 17, 1988.

Today we will make our own assemblage boxes. Use the box as a base and up to 3 charms, gears or cutouts and as much dried pasta as you’d like. You can also cut other shapes or designs out of white or natural card stock. Mix the items together to make an interesting picture or design.

You can give the objects different depths by making a pop-up tab (accordion fold a strip of paper or fold it into fourths to make a box) that can be glued to the back of the object. Then you can glue it to the box to secure it. You can also use pieces of the fluff to give texture or depth to a shape.

Try to make the shapes tell a story. Think about what you are using not as what you already know it to be, but how it can be a part of something new. Make sure everything is secure in the box.

december’s artist: tomasso masaccio

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Tomasso Masaccio was born December 21, 1401 in a small town north of Florence, Italy. There is very little information documenting his life, but it was common for artists to become apprentices around age 12. Most likely, he went to work under a master in Florence around that time. His first documented work (which was signed by him) was completed in January 1422. Artists during the renaissance did not sign their work until they had achieved the status of master. Twenty-one was young to be a master and sadly Masaccio died when he was 26. During this short career though, he had a profound influence on art. He was one of the leaders that moved the style of painting from very ornate and unrealistic two-dimensional to a more natural and realistic view. He was one of the first to use linear perspective (with lines moving back to a vanishing point) as well as atmospheric perspective (where things get bluer, blurrier, and lighter as they recede into the background) in his painting. He used shading and directional light sources as well as shadows beneath objects to create much more life-like figures than the traditional use of outlines and flat, two-dimensional depictions. His work had a heavy influence on later artists, such as Michelangelo.

Masaccio created primarily religious works to ornament cathedrals, but he also painted a handful of portraits. He had a preference for showing people in profile. Today we will create our own portraits in profile. You can work with a partner and draw each other or use the hand mirrors to draw a self-portrait (Which will be more difficult, you will need to peak out of the corner of your eye to do so.)

This lesson will guide you through the general way to draw a face. Remind the students that each face is unique. It is by observing and drawing the unique features that we make our drawings life-like. This will be a bit technical, so help the students not to get too stressed out over the details.

1. Very lightly, draw a line the length you want your finished face to be. Lightly draw intersecting lines to divide this into thirds. This will give you a fame-work to keep the face in proportion.

2. Look closely at the shape of the nose then draw it in the center section, all the way from the top to the bottom.

3. In the top section, we will draw the forehead. Indent in a little where the nose meets the forehead and then bow out for the ridge of the brow bone. Now gently curve up to the top of the line to make the forehead.

4. Make a small mark 1/3 of the way down in the bottom section, this will be the mouth. Look at how the area connecting the lip and nose curves in. Make this and then curve out for the lip. The upper lip will end in the line. That is the opening of the mouth. Now make the bottom lip, indent in and slope back to make the chin. Then extend a line below the jaw down to make the neck.

5. The eyebrow will start at the top line. For now, make the general outline, but don’t worry about putting in a lot of detail. Look carefully at where the eye falls under the eyebrow. The bottom of the eye will be at about the center of the section. If you lay a pencil down at the corner of the nose the end of the eyebrow, the corner of the eye will fall along this line also.

6. Now erase the guide lines. Add in the interesting details. Make the eyebrows with several short strokes that will look like hair. Add in a few clumps of eye lashes around the eyes, frame the face with hair. For older students, you can talk a little about shading, if you’d like. Add some rich details like Masaccio would, a fancy necklace or hat. Put your subject in intricately detailed clothes, anything that makes it fun.

7. Finally, add a little bit of color by filling in the areas with chalk. Press lightly and use small strokes, then blend gently with your finger. Spray each picture with hairspray, holding the can 6” away to “fix” the chalk and pencil. This will keep them from smudging.

november’s artist: henri matisse

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Biography:
Henri-Émile-Benoît Matisse was born on December 31, 1869 in northern France. His father was a successful grain merchant. Matisse went to law school and practiced briefly. When he was 20, he had appendicitis and his mother brought him a set of paints to keep him busy while he was recovering. He said that he discovered “a kind of paradise” during those days and abandoned law to study art. This was a bitter disappointment to his father, but Henri moved to Paris where he studied painting in the traditional style. In the next decade, he became friends with a then unknown VanGogh and started to follow the work of Cezanne and Gauguin. He quickly became a leader in the new styles of art. In 1898, he married Amélie Noellie Parayre and had 2 sons, he also had a daughter. Amelie and his daughter modeled for several of his works.
Around 1906, he was introduced to Pablo Picasso and the two became lifelong friends and rivals. Together, they are credited with defining modern art. During this time, he traveled to Morocco, Spain, Algiers, and Tangiers, ultimately settling in Nice. In 1939, he and Amalie divorced. Another of his common models, a Russian named Lydia Delectorskaya became his companion and worked with him, running the studio, keeping records and correspondence for the rest of his life. Matisse stayed in Paris and was able to work through WWI.
In 1941, he was diagnosed with abdominal cancer and was bedridden after surgery. He couldn’t paint and sculpt as he had before. A few times in earlier years, he had used collage for projects. Now, he began cutting paper that Lydia had painted bright colors into whimsical designs. Initially, they were small in scale, but soon they became mural-sized. He would direct assistants how to place the “cut-outs” in room-sized works. He used this technique to design the stained glass and interior of a small chapel in the French Riviera. He died of a heart attack in 1954. His children continued to work in the art world during their lives and the influence of his work can still be seen in modern art today!
Project:
We will make our own cut-outs like Matisse did. You can make your cut-out as simple or intricate as you’d like. Here are a few tips to make it easier:
You can plan out what you want to do with a rough sketch on a piece of scratch paper, but it isn’t mandatory.
Cut or tear the paper to give it different textures. You can fold the paper and then tear it to control where it tears more easily. You can also hold the paper with one finger, while using your other hand to pull the other side of the paper down to create a tear with a bigger edge.
Combine cuts and tears to give an interesting texture.
Arrange the pieces on the paper before gluing anything down to make sure you like the final design. When you are happy with the way it looks, glue everything in place.
After you are done hold the paper up and give it a little shake, make sure all of the pieces are secure.

october’s artist: edvard munch

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Edvard Munch was a forerunner of Expressionism and a pioneer in Modern art. He was born on December 12, 1863 on a farm in Loten, Norway. When he was only 5 years old, his mother died of Tuberculosis, which also claimed the life of one of his sisters a few years later. (There were 5 siblings, total.) Edvard was a sickly child and was homeschooled, by his pious father who was strict and often cold with the children. His family was tight-knit, staying close to home. He loved to draw from an early age and also loved the vivid ghost stories told by his father and the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. These things combined with a young exposure to mortality, gave him a preoccupation with death that can be seen in his artwork.

He studied art as a young adult, but his chronic illness kept him from finding much success in school. His father felt art was an “unholy pursuit” but Edvard was driven to express himself. In his journal, he wrote “…in my art I attempt to explain life and its meaning to myself.” He experimented with many different styles of art art as a student, and was often subject to harsh criticism from family, neighbors, and critics alike. His media is widely varied, he painted, used oil pastels, and drew and later added photography and printmaking to his skill set. As he grew more mature, he aimed to show the tension and emotions felt within rather than the external reality that can be seen by others. He did this by simplifying forms, using heavy lines and sharp contrast and colors and symbols to convey specific emotions.

The Scream is his most famous work and one of the most recognizable paintings in art. Munch made a handful of variations on the picture in pastel and paint. He recounted a night when he was walking with 2 friends and was suddenly filled with anxiety. Too tired to continue, he stopped and leaned against a nearby fence. As he did, the sky seamed to turn red and he felt nature scream around him. He later said that he felt himself “going mad” and knew he would never love again. Much of his art was biographical, as The Scream is. Mental illness was common in Edvard’s family and that turmoil is evident in his work.

Happily, in later life, Edvard sought treatment for depression and alcohol abuse. He greatly improved in spirit and his work took on a much more optimistic quality. At this point, he was also widely winning critics approval and was even given the title of Knight of the Royal Order of St. Olav “for services in art”. He died in his house at Ekely near Oslo on 23 January 1944, about a month after his 80th birthday.

*As you show the students Munch’s work, here are some conversation starters you can use to help them explore:

~Munch’s work is the perfect style for Halloween! Notice how even though the scenes are depicted with bright colors and happy subjects, there is a slightly eerie quality?

~What do you think about the faces? Edvard Munch said that he was more interested in depicting what was happening inside a person than showing a beautiful, flattering exterior. What do you think he was trying to show us?

~What do you think about the scream? Have you felt that way? (Generally one of the best questions to ask students about a picture is “How does this make you feel?”)

Today we are going to make our own pastel inspired by Edvard Munch’s style. You can do a landscape like Starry Night or a Portrait; but include some details to give the viewer an idea of your emotions like Munch did.

  • Pastels look a lot like crayons, but they are actually paint that is rolled into sticks. They are soft and have a rich color. They are easy to break, so hold them gently. It is fine to press firmly, but don’t press too hard.
  • Use your pencil to very lightly sketch where you want things, but try not to press to hard. The graphite can smear into the pastel and look muddy. Keep it simple, it’s best not to get too detailed.
  • Pastels blend a little bit differently than other media (Media is the art term for what you are using: paint, pencil, crayons, etc.) You can blend several colors together to create a more interesting texture. Layer blues and greens or purples together will look very nice, but you can even combine opposing colors, like red and purple or blue and yellow.
  • Generally you don’t want to blend with your fingers. Color with small strokes with your darker color, then layer the lighter color over the top and it will blend together. You can also color over the top with white to blend.

 

summer day camps

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Sumer Fine Art Day Camps

Each camp will run from 11:00am to 3:00pm and will Include lunch. (Please notify me if your child has a food allergy.) All supplies will be included.

Ages 6+ welcome unless otherwise specified

Cost is $45.00 per child per class.

A $5.00 discount will be given for enrollment in multiple classes.

Class sizes are limited and subject to cancellation for lack of enrollment.

Tuesday 6/6 Plein Air Painting-Spend the day painting like Monet! We will meet at Wheeler Farm and paint with watercolors and pastels in several locations. We will learn how to quickly capture animals, and landscapes as well as the elements of a good composition.

Wednesday 6/14 Sculpture-Experiment with different types of clay as we learn about armature and form and create things on a small and larger scale. Later we will learn about found art and creating sculpture by using everyday items in new ways.

Tuesday 6/27 Portraits-Learn new tricks for drawing facial features and refine the skills needed to make those features come together and look like the person you are portraying.

Thursday 7/13 Jewelry-Discover several ways to create jewelry and make unique epieces, using materials such as wire, clay, leather, beads and paper.

Tuesday 7/18 Sketch Fundamentals-(ages 5-10) Learn the techniques to start observing and capturing the world around you. Sketching really is the basis of all other visual arts, so learn to do it well! Students will receive a Moleskin Journal to start sketching in for the rest of the summer.

Thursday 7/20 Advanced Sketching-(ages 10+) In this class we will refine our drawing skills as well as learn new tricks to create more realistic sketches. Students will receive a Moleskin Journal to start sketching in for the rest of the summer.

Tuesday 8/15 Manga/Anime-Learn how to take your manga drawing to the next level! We will study several different animation techniques and then create a graphic novel.

Thursday 8/17 Painting Fundamentals-Learn about color theory, composition, and how to give your painting focus and movement. Then use these skills to paint a canvas.

may’s art movement: art nouveau

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Art Nouveau (French for New Art) was a movement that swept throughout Europe and the United States from the early 1880s through 1915. The movement began in Britain, but was quickly taken up by other art centers as a response to the Industrial Revolution. Artists, craftsmen, architects and others consciously decided to work together to bring art into everyday aspects of life. They were unhappy with the utilitarian and mass produced lifestyle that they Industrial Revolution had sparked. With all of the mechanical advances made during this time, things could be mass-produced in factories instead of hand made by craftsmen which lead to a more homogenized and less thought out set of dishes or hairbrushes, etc.
The artists and artisans of the art nouveau movement also wanted to break down the hierarchy of arts that said fine art (such as painting and sculpture) were separate from home design and the more functional items that filled the general publics houses (often referred to as the applied arts). By embracing architecture, graphic art, interior design, and most of the decorative arts (such as jewelry, furniture, textiles, household silver and other utensils, and lighting), the founders of the movement hoped to create a world that was more beautiful to live in. According to the philosophy of the style, art should be a way of life. For many well-off Europeans, it was possible to live in an art nouveau-inspired house with art nouveau furniture, silverware, fabrics, ceramics, and jewelry, etc.
Artists took the plant forms they saw in nature and then flattened and abstracted them into elegant, organic motifs. Common elements of the period were controlled but swooping lines with rich design flourishes and stark contrasts. As the movement grew, the materials used became more lavish and the construction was highly skilled and detailed. This made many products more of a luxury and therefor not readily accessible to the general public. (However, the design motifs were also used in mass produced objects as well.) Louis Comfort Tiffany was a leader of the movement in America (often it was referred to as “Tiffany Style” in America). His intricate stain glass lamp shades are an excellent example of the art nouveau ideals.
Advertising was another interesting frontier during this time. (Railroads, and the telephone were newer innovations and made it much easier to move products and information great distances. You can imagine that life really changed around late1800s. This was the time when many things we take for granted today were being invented.) Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters advertising the Moulin Rouge (a dance show) and other venues and products are considered to be the first of the modern format for the poster or billboard.
Art nouveau works were not all uniform in style. One artist, Siegfried Bing, said “Art Nouveau, at the time of its creation, did not aspire in any way to have the honor of becoming a generic term. it was simply the name of a house opened as a rallying point for all the young and ardent artists impatient to show the modernity of their tendencies.” Yet, it is easy to see a unifying style across this movement that did bear many different names in different countries at the time. This lavish style was ultimately the downfall of the art nouveau movement. As World War I unfolded, people turned to more functional design and the sweeping nature-inspired lines of art nouveau were replaced with modern, sleekly industrial designs of Art Deco. However, the graceful nature-inspired designs continue to show up in design today and the idea of infusing everyday life with art and beauty is one we should continue to uphold.
Today we will do just that as we try to redesign everyday objects and make them more beautiful. Use one piece of paper to brainstorm ideas and make rough sketches of how you could change some of the items you use everyday. Then take one or two of those ideas and make a more refined sketch of what that item would look like.
There are colored pencils on the cart as well as some colored paper to make it more interesting, but ultimately, this is a thought activity; just be creative and have fun with it!
*If there is time, encourage the students to share their ideas.

april’s artist: miquel barcelo

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Miquel Barceló, was born in Felanitx on the island of Majorca, Spain on January 8, 1957. He studied art there briefly in the Arts and Crafts School of Palma de Majorca before enrolling at the Fine Arts School of Barcelona in 1974. After a year in Barcelona he would return to Majorca to protest with “Taller Lunátic”, a conceptual vanguardist group that fought against (in the arts, not actual fighting) the notion that “painting is dead” and the move to more contemporary practices like art installations and performance art.

In the 1980’s he traveled extensively throughout Europe, United States and West Africa and would eventually set up studios in both Paris and Segou, Mali. These cultural influences can be seen in his work. After a series of exhibitions in the early and mid 1980s, Barceló’s popularity grew to the point that his work was shown in the most prestigious galleries and museums including the National Gallery of Modern Art Pompidou Center in Paris.

As homage to his homeland, Miquel Barceló crafted a mural of approximately 300m² for Majorca´s San Pedro Cathedral Chapel in 2004. He covered the walls of the chapel with terra-cotta and painted them with images related to the miracle of the loaves and fish from John in the Bible. Also in 2004 a series of watercolors, illustrating Dante’s Divine Comedy, were shown at the Louvre Museum in Paris. Barcelo was 47 years old and the youngest living artist ever to have their work shown in the Louvre.

His biggest commission was the domed ceiling of the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Chamber in the UN’s Palace of Nations in Geneva. It features multicolored stalactite forms figuratively dripping from the ceiling. Barceló explained that the dome represented “a sea and a cave, in absolute and apposing union” He said the idea came to him “on a day of immense heat in the middle of the Sahel desert” in Africa in where “the mirage of an image of the world was dripping towards the sky…. flowing drop by drop”

Now in his sixties, Miquel Barceló continues to split his time working in Paris, Spain, and Mali today. His work includes paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and cast iron.

Today we will try some sculptural painting of our own. Show the students the different materials we have to add texture to their paintings. Tell them to lightly sketch out the design you want to make on your canvas board. You will want to keep your design somewhat simple and add one or two of the materials to give it a different texture. You may want to do something representational (a picture of something, made to look realistic) or abstract (a picture that is not of anything recognizable). You may want to paint the background first or you may want to add the joint compound to build up ridges or shapes and then carefully paint on top of that.

Some hints to help make these paintings more successful:
-Give the joint compound some time to dry by working on other areas before painting it.
-Paint very lightly over the compound. If you press into it, it will make marks. I often tell my students to just lightly tickle it with the brush.
-Lightly press the yarn or fabric into the compound or wet paint to help it adhere to the board.

*When setting up, I recommend getting there a few minutes early to fill water cups. (I usually do a cup per pair of students–it is less to clean up.) After I have given the discussion part of the lesson, I pass out the boards and while students are sketching their design, I pass out the water, brushes napkins and plates. Then I go around with the paint and give them small (dime sized) dabs of paint. I tell them they can always have more, but often this is all they need so we start with this much. Give the students that want it a spoonful of joint compound (they can have more if they need it, but it’s best to start small) and let them come get the other items off the cart as needed.

*Please wash the brushes very thoroughly with a small amount of dish soap and put them in the container with the brush tip up. (If you put the brushes down, it bends the bristles and they loose their shape and don’t work well.)

april art classes

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I hope you are having a great spring break! I have been excited to take it easy for a few days! I am also excited to focus on drawing skills this month. Each class will focus on one subject and hopefully your little artist will come home making big strides on how to draw more realistically! All classes are $20 and open to any age 5+ unless specifically noted.

Friday, April 14th 2:00-4:00

Animals-we will learn how to accurately map out and proportion basic types of animal bodies. Then we explore how to show the details that bring a sketch to life. We use artist grade colored pencils and the fun techniques that can change their texture to make animal portraits on bristol.

Wednesday April 19th 2:00-4:00 Advanced class (ages 11+)

Figure drawing- We will learn the correct proportions to draw the human figure, then how to manipulate them to stylize for manga, comics, and forced perspective drawing. We will use graphite and artist grade colored pencils to create several styles of work.

Saturday, April 22nd 2:00-4:00

Faces- We will focus on each facial feature and how to realistically draw it. Then talk about how to observe the little differences that make each face unique. We will do self portraits with graphite on bristol.

Friday, April 28th 2:00-4:00

Stylization- We will use the skills we have gained over the month to help us “break the rules!” In this class students will learn how to observe reality then manipulate it to create cartoon, manga, and kawaii, as well as how stylization is used in fine art. We will work with a variety of media.

march class schedule

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This month is a little hectic for me, so I will have limited classes. However I would love to teach a weekly series on portraiture and figure drawing for jr. high age kids on their early day if I have enough students interested. We would start next week on Wednesday at 2:00 and have weekly class until June. Let me know if you are interested! ($40/month)

Friday 3/17 2:00-4:00 ($25)
Sculpture
We will explore different types of clay and create miniature figurines as well as clay sculptures.

Friday 3/24 2:00-4:00 ($20)
Mixed Media Collage
We will learn how to best combine paper, paint, markers and textiles to enhance the story told in our art.